If you think the fighting has been rough in Fallujah, wait until you see Washington in the springtime. President Bush's early personnel decisions for the second term suggest that he is preparing, unilaterally, to take on not only our foreign enemies, but also the Democrats and Washington's most cunning and vicious bureaucracies -- all at the same time. This is heroism in its classic form. Hector, Lysander -- move over. (Note to the president: Come heavily armed. Both Hector and Lysander died in battle, Hector's corpse being dragged by Achilles behind his chariot before the walls of Troy.)
Much to the disappointment (and apparent surprise) of the Democrats and their mainstream media affiliates, Bush made the odd decision after the election not to sell out his voters by preemptively compromising his policy positions with the losing Democratic Party. The Washington elite is utterly perplexed by the idea of not selling out your local supporters as soon as you deplane at Reagan National Airport. Poor Bush has so much to learn about governing and leadership.
But even more shocking to Washington veterans is his insistence on nominating for his cabinet men and women who actually share his vision and want to help him carry out his agenda. If Bush had only chosen cabinet secretaries who would quietly undercut his policies and directives, Washington insiders would have gladly let the president continue to call for whatever he wants -- and compliment him as a true leader who is uniting the nation (around the losing liberal agenda). But picking people who agree with him is where Washington draws the line.
With the nominations of Condoleezza Rice at State, Porter Goss at CIA, Donald Rumsfeld (or an equally tough replacement) at Defense and Stephen Hadley at the National Security Council, the president has created an all-Patton foreign and defense team. Moreover, he has a team that understands that among the necessary targets of their firepower must be not only our foreign enemies, but also the slouching, sly, insubordinate bureaucrats under their chain of command.
While we know less about the president's domestic staffing, the appointment of loyalist Alberto Gonzales at Justice suggests that he, too, will be in hand-to-hand combat with the fourth of Washington's Bureaucratic Horsemen of the Apocalypse: Justice, State, CIA and Defense. On the day after Gonzales' nomination, an old Justice Department hand told me that they were going to "eat Gonzales alive."
Blankley, who had been suffering from stomach cancer, died Saturday night at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, his wife, Lynda Davis, said Sunday.
In his long career as a political operative and pundit, his most visible role was as a spokesman for and adviser to Gingrich from 1990 to 1997. Gingrich became House Speaker when Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives following the 1994 midterm elections.